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Couldn't do it without them

| December 22, 2010 8:00 PM

There's a whole slew of Santa's helpers in red.

They're under the rooftop at Kootenai County Fire and Rescue.

As Press Christmas for All reaches its joyful zenith, we begin to look out over this 25th annual fundraising campaign and give thanks where it is due. Our donors, pushing hard to the hopeful $200,000 finish line by Friday, are atop the list of good girls and boys this year. But right there with them are our friends and colleagues at Kootenai County Fire and Rescue.

Several years ago, KCFR became our Press Christmas for All partners when we all agreed that we were duplicating efforts and made better teammates than rivals. We took primary responsibility for raising money; KCFR, with ample, centrally located space and a strong volunteer force, created a client database and provided a stable distribution center.

Each year since then, thousands of applications have been processed and are kept up to date in the database to help prevent fraud or inadvertent duplication. Every effort is made to ensure that the people who request help really need it. Further, each year just before Christmas, the administrative center on Seltice Way is transformed into a cheerful greeting station for the needy to come in, heads held high, provide proof of identification and accept their gift cards. If we have one regret, it's that donors do not get to see or hear what the distribution center volunteers experience every year. The smile on children's faces, the grateful tear tumbling down a mother's cheek, these are rewards that you can't put a price on.

Special thanks to KCFR's commissioners, to Chief Ron Sampert and most of all to three amazing volunteers who do so much of the most difficult work in virtual anonymity: Samantha Babich, Laurie Perkinson and RaeAnn Capaul. Three cheers, ladies!

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